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Acts of the Apostles: 45 - Acts 28

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Acts of the Apostles

45 - Acts 28



Acts of the Apostles: 45 - Acts 28


In the final class of "Acts of the Apostles," we will discuss Acts 28:1-31 and examine the following: Paul and the shipwreck survivors reach the island of Malta, where they receive hospitality from the locals. Paul heals the father of Publius, the chief official, and many others. After three months, they set sail again and arrive in Rome. The believers in Rome greet Paul, and he is allowed to live in a rented house while awaiting his trial. Paul preaches and teaches about the Kingdom of God, and some believe while others reject his message. Paul remains in Rome for two years, boldly proclaiming the gospel.


[Darris McNeely] All right, ladies and gentlemen, we are at the last chapter of the Book of Acts. And so let's see if we can bring the story home here with Paul shipwrecked on the island of Malta. To begin in verse 1.

Acts 28:1-2 “They found that they were on the island of Malta, and the natives showed us unusual kindness for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome.”

When you come up out of a shipwreck, out of the water, cold, you want a fire. Well, great hospitality here.

Acts 28:2-3 “Rain was falling, and it was cold. When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat fastened on his hand.”

Whoa, snake bit, just like that. A poisonous snake comes out.

Acts 28:4 “The native saw the creature hanging from his hand.”So Paul's kind of “What's going on here?” “And they said to one another, ‘No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.’”

This was a common approach that people in the ancient world would have. I'm looking at a situation. You know, it's a bad omen or bad things happen, the gods are punishing me or you. Just going to stay away from you. They look at this with Paul, he's been bitten by a snake, justice of the gods. This is how they looked at it. But what does Paul do? He shakes the creature into the fire, fried the snake, Paul's not hurt.

Acts 28:6 “However, they were expecting he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their mind and said that he was a god.”

Remember back in Lystra, the story where Paul and Barnabas had come there? And they did a healing and they thought that the gods had come down to them? And their first impression was, “Well, here's Zeus, and here's Mercury, has come down to us.” And then they're going to do a sacrifice, and Paul stops them. And then, you know, a few days later, some people come down from Antioch and accuse Paul, and the crowd turns on them, and beats Paul nearly to death. They drag him out of the streets of the city.

And so it's kind of reverse there. There, they thought Paul was a God upfront, then they changed their mind, they beat him nearly to death. Here, they thought he was a criminal, upfront. And then they changed their mind and thought that he was a god. You know, the takeaway is that people are fickle, in some ways. And that is a lesson from these two stories here. But, you know, ultimately, I think for any of us, while we like approval, and nobody likes the disapproval of people, we don't like to be criticized, do we? We want people to praise our work. “Oh, great job,” you know, “way to go,” you know, two thumbs up, attaboys all around. We love that.

And, you know, always give that when it is due to anyone who does a good job. But as you are out on the receiving end, I think the art that you have to develop with dealing with people is, you know, don't live for the likes. Don't live for the likes. What is that they say? Actually, when you get a like on your Facebook page or whatever, it sets up a little bit of a rush for us. You know, it's got kind of like a little shot, a boost of something.

So I guess there's something physiological about that. And we all like that. But you don't always get likes, do you? Ultimately, you got... Did you do a good job? Are they just trying to, you know, gloss it over? You and I know when you did a good job. You know when you mail it in and you plagiarize, you use chatbot AI, which you won't do that, really. But you know when you didn't really do a good job and you know when you did a good job. That's the key. If nobody says attaboy, and you know you did a good job, you just say, “That's all right. I can go on. I know I did my best.” And, you know, when you know you didn't do the best job and somebody, you know, sugarcoats it, you better know at that point in time and not fool yourself and lie to yourself. The last person... You don't want to lie, period. But the last person you want to deceive is yourself.

And don't let false praise cause you to gloss over what you know about yourself to be less than what you can do or not your best effort. Don't always look to the crowd. And it's nice when we get yes. It's nice when we get likes. And it's nice when we get that recognition. But learn how to know yourself. And I think Paul had had enough of experiences. This was not Paul's first shipwreck, by the way. This was at least his 30. In Corinthians, he says twice shipwrecked. And that was before this episode. We just don't know when and where. So he had been through this before. And I think keep this in mind here that Paul has, you know, been through so much that he knows his mind, his strengths, as well as his weaknesses.

Acts 28:7-8 Now, verse 7 tells us that, “In that region, there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went into him and prayed. And he laid his hands on him and healed him.”

Now, we see this back from the Gospels, Jesus did this as well with people. People actually touched the hem of His garment at one time, a woman did. And so that physical contact. Remember, when Paul was working in Ephesus back in chapter 19, aprons from his clothing were cut off, he somehow anointed those or he sent them, and that too caused people to be healed as they had faith. Here, Paul lays hands on them. And so we have a distinct, clear example of how we do what we do and what we do when people are called for an anointing.

Acts 28:9 “Paul did this. And when it was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases came and were healed.”

So Paul has a period of ministry here, where he provides a benefit for people who are in need of God's intervention.

Acts 28:10 "And they honored us in many ways. And when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.”

Whether that would have been food and clothing. And keep in mind, you still got the Roman Centurion here and his cohort is there. Paul is still under arrest. And yet, he's got a certain amount of liberty to do this. So three months pass.

Acts 28:11 And it says in verse 11, “We sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the twin brothers, which had wintered at the island.”

Now, the twin brothers... Let's pause for a moment. Let me show you something about these twin brothers. These twin brothers are Castor and Pollux here. They were two mythic beings, Castor and Pollux. In other words, they were the figureheads on the ship. You've seen pictures with ships that have, you know, usually a woman out front or some other figure. In this case, the twin brothers here were Castor and Pollux.

They were the patrons of navigation in the Roman world. Their story go back to the early days of Rome when the early Republic, and this goes back to, let's say, the fifth century BC. Long before Rome was an empire and the city was still figuring itself out, they had a battle among the people toward their last king. And in the Roman forum, these two figures appear on horses. You see this figure here of horses, they actually appear on horses, according to the story. And they fight again with the Roman citizens against this corrupt king that they're trying to get rid of. We all know the early Romans did not like kings. The Caesars and all, they came 400 or 500 years later when things had degenerated where they could not rule themselves adequately through the Senate and the Republican form. And so, you had to have the strong man, and Augustus, Julius Caesar, and all take over. But these two mythic figures appear in the story.

And actually, according to the myth, they appear right within the Roman Forum. And if you ever go to Rome, and you look out, find a place...there's a great place from the Capitoline Museum, that you can go out on a balcony and look out over the forum. And it gives you just a great bird's eye view. But there is a place on a little hill within the forum, there's three columns there. And that's where these two... There's an actual temple to Castor and Pollux right there or the remains of it. And they were supposed to have even appeared at that particular spot during this battle.

So that's kind of the background to the two brothers, the twin brothers. But in time, they became the patrons of navigation, kind of like the St. Joseph of the Catholicism today. I don't know if... St. Joseph used to be the patron saint for travelers among Catholics. And where I grew up, you would pass cars on the road. We had a lot of Catholics. And if you saw a little idol on the dashboard of the car, you knew, well, they're Catholic, because they would put St. Joseph there. And I heard some years later, they kind of figured out he really wasn't a real person and they had to debunk St. Joseph.

So, I don't know. But that used to be the story. And you used to see that... When I was growing up, you'd always see these little idols in the dashboard of a car, the patron saint. Anyway, they continue, now they're moving on. So I'm going to go back to the map here.

Acts 28:12-13 “Landing at Syracuse,” Syracuse is on the island of Sicily, right here. So they go up from Malta on a boat to Syracuse. And they're going to go up through the Straits of Messina and continue right on the coast here. And so, “We circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day, the south wind blew, and the next day we came to Puteoli.”

I've been to Puteoli. You can go to Puteoli. It's in the Bay of Naples. Paul would have sailed into the Bay of Naples on this ship. And they put in right at the port of Puteoli. They've got a big statue of Paul right there and there's a church and everything. It's a little small town. And the Bay of Naples spreads out quite wide there in southern Italy. As Paul sailed in there, if it was a clear day, off in the distance, he probably saw Mount Vesuvius rising over the city of Pompeii few years before it erupted. So he could have seen that. And he would have seen something else as he sailed into the Bay of Naples. Yes, off on his right, he would have seen the island of Capri. Yes, Paul would have seen that. And you too, ladies, might see that someday yourself, God willing, and you make the right decisions. But all of that is in the Bay of Naples.

And that whole region, it's the Amalfi Coast, you can drive down and, you know, you can pretend you're Cary Grant driving along with an open convertible, and you've got a beautiful, you know, woman in the seat next to you and sunshine, and it's Italy. And it's just life is good. La Dolce Vita, as they say over there. But for Paul, it wasn't quite like that. He's still a prisoner as he comes.

Acts 28:14 “We found brethren there.” So there are some members. “And we were invited to stay with them for seven days.”

And so we went toward Rome. And so Paul begins his journey up toward Rome. I'll just go over here to this map. And he begins to walk up to Rome, with his two companions. Maybe a few of the members here join him here.

Acts 28:14 “They found brethren, We stayed with them. And so we,” Luke, Aristarchus, Paul, maybe others, but certainly, the Romans were with them. “We went toward Rome.”

That phrase is... You know, when you put that in the perspective of what Paul has done, what he said in motion when he said, “I appeal to Caesar,” and what the whole story of Acts is like, now he's walking to an uncertain future. He's walking into the heart of the beast. He's asked for an audience with Caesar, with Augustus. And so he goes toward Rome.

Acts 28:15 “And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us, as far as the Appii forum and three ends. And when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.”

At some point, he picks up the Appian Way. I'll put that on the board. The Appian Way is one of the most famous roadways in all of history. It's what Paul walks on as he goes into Rome. I mean, the Roman road system we've talked about that Paul has already walked on throughout Asia Minor. He's on now what is called the Appian Way. And I've walked on the Appian Way. You could walk On the Appian Way because there are sections of it that are still visible near Rome, and even further south.

And so one of my hopes is that we could do a tour somewhere, sometime, maybe start in Malta, and do this last journey of Paul. We wouldn't do all this here. But we would do this, fly to Malta, and then take boats to Syracuse through the straits up into Puteoli, and then go up to Rome. That is another... I've done part of that, at least from Rome down. I've never done this part down in here. But a really good tour would be to start here and go up through Rome, really would be rich and the biblical story, as well as the Roman culture, and understanding the New Testament setting and background here. But Luke gives some specific spots, the three ends in the Appii forum. I've stayed in a hotel right there at the Appii forum into three ends. It's a well-known location. You know, it wasn't where Paul met. But there's a well there. They call it Paul's Well.

But actually, the geographic spot is still there. But what's important here is that members hear about it from Rome, and they come out. Maybe it's about 30 miles, and they would have walked down to meet Paul there. This has been three years since Paul has written the letter to the Romans. And they had no doubt have heard that he has been arrested and that he is coming. Probably others in Paul's grouping, not this party that he's with, but they have found out that he's on his way. And they go out to meet him. It's really a good example here, a fellowship of people, encouraging other people, friendships, the camaraderie, the fellowship of the spirit that we have in the Church, because he thanks God, and he took courage from their presence. We draw strength from people and the relationships we develop. It's always good to have people come out to be around us at a time of difficulty, to be with us. you know, anytime we go to church on the Sabbath to fellowship. And these members coming out to meet Paul, at this point, are doing a good thing.

Acts 28:16 “Now, when we came to Rome, the Centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard.”

So Paul walks into Rome on the Appian Way. He would have come in at the point of the Hippodrome, just below the Capitoline Hill where the palaces of the Caesars were, just a short distance down from the Colosseum, which was not there at the time of Paul. That comes much later. But, you know, if you've been to Rome, you got that picture. Paul came in very, very close to where you and I walk around of the forum and those buildings at that time. But that's not where he goes. He doesn't go to the palaces. He is delivered as a prisoner still to the captain of the guard.

Acts 28:16-17 “But Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with a soldier who guarded him. And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. And when they had come together…”

Now, let me pause right there. Paul is now going to take up residence in Rome. And he's going to stay there for a period of time. The end of the chapter tells us two years. So he's got a two-year period of, more or less, house arrest. And where he stayed is not completely known. There's a lot of speculation. When I was on a tour there a few years ago, they took us into an underground area where they'd been doing some excavation in what was the Jewish quarter where the Jews lived at that time. And, you know, the tour guide said, “I think that we're just within a few 100 years of where Paul would have lived while he was under house arrest here.” And he based it on two things. It was in the area of the Jews, which is logical, Paul would have gone to a neighborhood of people that were his. But they've also found evidence of a tannery there, which means that people working with leather.

And, again, Paul would have had an affinity and a closeness toward leather workers and tentmakers. Speculation, but it made for, you know, one of those moments that we were kind of in this underground section and at least getting some type of imagery of that. But Paul is allowed certain freedoms because leaders of the Jews now come to him. Now, this is some few years after the edict by Claudius, which expelled the Jews, or at least a large portion of them from Rome. But now, Claudius is gone, Nero is the emperor. And obviously, they come back in. And there's still a strong Jewish community here. They have heard of Paul and they come to him. And they want to talk to him.

Acts 28:17-20 “And so, he said to them, ‘Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people, or the customs of our fathers, yet, I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.” And again, just, you know, quick summary then of what we've read in the previous chapters of the accusations, the arrest, Paul goes on to say, “Who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go,” the Romans did. “Because there was no cause for putting me to death. But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything in which to accuse my nation. For this reason, therefore, I have called for you, to see you, to speak with you, because, for the hope of Israel, I am bound with this chain.”

Again, you know, figuratively or literally at that moment, he could have pointed to it. I tend to have the feeling that while he was under house arrest, he was not 24/7 locked into a chain. But he may, at this point, be speaking figuratively, as he looks at that. He could have even pointed to it, you know, hanging off of a chair in the room, but not necessarily would have had to have been attached to it. And so, he basically is telling them, “I'm in this condition. I've gone through all this now, these two-plus years, for the hope of Israel.”

This is what he is basically saying. He says it here in verse 20, “For the hope of Israel,” he had said back in chapter 23:6, chapter 24:21, and chapter 26:6-8, “the hope of Israel,” the hope that began with a promise to Abraham, of a seed, and all nations being blessed through that seed, and for the whole story of Israel, the whole package of the promises that began with Abraham, and to which the nation of Israel looked, this remnant, the Jewish people still looking for that, but not recognizing that it had come through Christ in His life, death, and resurrection. And then none of them probably fully realizing the depth to with which the time history and events had to transpire for all this to take place.

But Paul was driven by the reality that this was what was going to happen, that his message, his encounter with the living Christ on the road to Damascus, which changed everything in his life, and gave him the impetus, and the drive, and the hope to push forward against all the odds that, and all the difficulties that caused him to sit out on the open sea on that boat, come to Rome, to preach the gospel, to bear witness of the resurrected Christ, and what God was doing, and bringing together all things in Christ through the gospel. Paul had had months and years to work all of this understanding of the Bible, of theology, of the Old Testament, the Scriptures. And if you will, his theology, as he taught it, he'd had years to work this out.

And he had written Romans, he had written Corinthians, he had written Galatians at this point. He had written, possibly, Ephesians, maybe not, but at least these other major treatises in which he had worked out what it was all about, what the salvation story meant, what the story of the hope of Israel had to mean, and especially out of the book of Romans chapters 9, 10, and 11, which you studied, and which bear witness to this matter that the gentiles are going to be grafted in. The Jews didn't fully understand that. This group of Jews in front of Paul did not fully grasp it nor accept it. And the hope was bigger than the Jews. It was even bigger than the people of Israel.

Acts 28:20 “While it was the hope,” he says, "of Israel," in verse 20, he said, “I have called for you to see you and speak with you because, for the hope of Israel, I'm bound with these chains.”

But when you really examine Paul's theology, and I tend to think that he had an even bigger understanding that maybe he had the ability to put into his own words, that that hope of Israel was a larger spiritual, if I could use the word cosmic, hope of heaven and earth coming together. Not in a temple made with hands, but in the body of Jesus Christ and the work that the Father and the Word had planned from before the foundation of the world to bring all things together in that plan, in that purpose for which Christ's life had to be given, for which he was resurrected, but had not yet... The times had not yet been completely fulfilled for all of that to develop.

And Paul was saying that now the gentiles were grafted in. And this temple would include all nations, all nations. Paul understood the Old Testament Scriptures and had explained them and was doing it here to these people. Notice what it says, he goes on.

Acts 28:21-22 “And they said to him, ‘Well, we neither receive letters from Judea concerning you, nor any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. But we desire to hear from you what you think, for concerning the sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.’”

And this is the sect of the Nazarenes, which we were talking about in two classes back. Because this is one of the names that was given to the followers of Jesus, the sect of the Nazarenes, the followers of this way. It's interesting... You know, Christ said, “I will build My Church.” And we see the name of the Church in Scripture, but we also see these other designations, the Nazarenes, and particularly the way. I do like the way continues to kind of grow on me because it does speak to how we live and the way we are as a people.

Acts 28:23 “When they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the Kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets, from morning till evening.”

From morning until evening. Now, morning would have been kind of shortly after daybreak, enough time to have washed your face out of, you know, a handful of grain, maybe some bread, maybe, you know, a piece of cheese, or, you know, rarely, maybe a piece of meat or some dried fruit, that was breakfast. And then they began.

And it went till evening, which evening could be the middle of the afternoon. It could be till dusk. Who knows? I'll bet it was longer than ABC hours, though, is my final guess. But he talked him out of the Scriptures, the Old Testament, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Malachi, all of them. And he taught them about Jesus. He went back to Deuteronomy. He went back to Genesis. And from all of them, he pulled together the Scriptures that explained the gospel of the Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ. You have it right here. What's our mission statement? In the United Church of God, we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God to all the world. And we make disciples and we care for those disciples. And Paul here, as Luke explains what he taught, he testified of the Kingdom of God concerning Jesus. It's right there. Both sides of the gospel right here in verse 23.

Acts 28:24-27 “Now, some were persuaded by the things which were spoken and some disbelieved.” Mixed audience, mixed reaction, typical. “So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed. After Paul had said one word, the Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say, hearing it, you will hear and shall not understand, seeing you will see and not perceive. For the hearts of these people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing and their eyes, they have closed. Lest they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn so that I should heal them.’”

He's quoting out of Isaiah 6. This is Isaiah 6:9. It's Isaiah's vision of the temple of God, his great train spread out there. And it's a stupendous chapter and vision that Isaiah has. This passage of Isaiah is quoted in Mark 4:12, and Matthew 13, and Luke 8, and John 12, all through the Gospels. Paul also quoted it to them in Romans 9-11 in there. And so, it's a very famous passage. And it explains why they didn't understand what they heard. It goes all the way back to the time of Isaiah, even though Paul was able to lay it all out in front of him.

Paul's text was the entire Old Testament interpreted by the coming of Christ, the death of Christ, and the resurrection of Christ. He interpreted the Old Testament through the coming of Christ, the death of Christ, and the resurrection of Christ. And he turned to Scriptures to explain all of those, all three of those, His coming, His death, and His resurrection. That would make a wonderful Bible study for anyone to compile the Scriptures from the Old Testament concerning the coming of Christ, the death of Christ, and the resurrection of Christ, and what Paul would have turned to in these Bible studies, if you will, with these Jews to explain from their own Scriptures what had happened, and they were not able to understand. And so, finally, after Luke puts it this way in verse 28.

Acts 28:28 He says, “Therefore, let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the gentiles, and they will hear it.”

So this is his conclusion. Salvation has come to the gentiles. They will hear it, and they are being joined to the spiritual body of Christ, which is the greater temple than the temple in Jerusalem that stood at that moment and even the first temple that Solomon had built. This is what that temple pointed to, and salvation had come to the gentiles. And they could have that part. Remember, I told you about seeing at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, a stone that sat in the temple that forbade the gentiles to go beyond that point into the Court of Israel. And it was a wall of division. But Christ's death broke it down to where gentiles and Israel could come together and worship God in the same place. That's one of the key parts of the gospel and what Paul kept bringing about here.

Acts 28:29 Says, “When he said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.”

So they continued to argue. And the responses were typical of what Paul had experienced wherever he went in the synagogues throughout all of his preaching. And so, we come to verse 30.

Acts 28:30-31 “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house. He got a house arrest that he's under. He received all who came to him, preaching the Kingdom of God, teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”

Into the Book of Acts, into the Book of Acts, on the note of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Kingdom of God, which Paul preached, which is the story of the book of Acts. And Paul was able to do that for two years. Now, so, let's say, four-plus years, Paul has been confined to, let's say, an arrest situation. But in that time, he's not inactive. He's had encounters with a lot of people that have come and gone to him, heads of state, a king, Roman governors. And he's given witness to the Jews here, and many, many others that Luke just doesn't record.

The story ends. What happens after this? Well, here's what the traditions say. The tradition say that Paul was released. We don't know that he did get an audience with Nero. It's possible that he did. In Philippians 1:13, I'll just quickly turn there, we get a little hint of something. If Paul wrote Philippians from this imprisonment in Rome.

Philippians 1:12 “I want you to know, brethren, the things that have happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ.”

It's become evident to the whole palace guard. So, how many people from the palace that he interact with? Did he get an audience with Nero? If he did, it would have been probably with about, you know, an hour or so notice.

The way a lot of those things happen when Caesar held his audience to allow people to appeal to him, wherever they were, they had a short time to come. And they probably would have gotten that notice that day. It's not like it was put on a docket for three months out, as things are done in the court. And Paul would have had to go, if that happened. We don't know that it did. We don't know that it didn't. The tradition has it that Paul was released from this and then he made other visits. At the end of the book of Romans, he says that he wants to go to Spain, which puts him beyond Italy, at the very edge of the Mediterranean after Gibraltar in that area there. It's not on this map and it's not on the one map here. That's what he said in Scripture that he wanted to do. Did he go there? Possibly.

You know, the other possibility is that he made a return trip back through Asia. And at this time, he may have made that visit to Colossus, visited with Philemon, and gone to Philadelphia. Maybe he left Titus in Crete at that time when these things would have happened. But then we know that there's a second imprisonment. And it's that imprisonment that you read about in 2 Timothy, where it comes to this very dark conclusion where Paul says at the end of 2 Timothy, that I know that my time has come. And if I were to turn and read that. You've been through it already.

Timothy 4:6 “I'm already being poured out as a drink offering. The time of my departure is at hand. I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I've kept the faith.”

And so it's a pretty dark time. He goes on and he talks about having been forsaken by a number of people that have been his close friends through the years. But this comes at least two or more years later from where we are at the end of the book of Acts, which Luke says that he spends two years in the house. Then if he had said another two years, which puts into the mid-60s, the traditions have that Paul is arrested a second time, again, by Nero, he's brought back to Rome, where he's beheaded. If, again, you go to some of the places where they think that... You know, they built Catholic churches over these spots. I know what they told us on one of our tours over there years ago, Paul's head bounced when it got chopped off, and it kind of bounced, was it, I think seven times and seven fountains of water sprang up. So these are the stories that get told about things like this.

But the tradition is very strong, and very likely that he was killed at Rome. Being a citizen, his head would have been cut off. He would not have been crucified. The tradition is that Peter was. But I won't go into that back part of it at this time. Where did Paul go? Scripture doesn't tell us everything. And scholars spent a lot of time trying to create plausible scenarios. There's even one far-out idea of some that Paul could have gone to Britain, wasn't not Great Britain at the time, but what is Great Britain today, would have gone up to England. I mean, there's a tradition that he went to Glastonbury and preached the gospel up there.

We know that only from traditions of later centuries and nothing from the Scripture. So, you can be that as a mayor. I was thinking about it this morning and kind of going over all these final notes and the aftermath of Paul. A lot of topics are connected to it, but that would have to be left to a higher-level class than what this is, kind of a graduate-level class, if you will. This is a introduction into the Book of Acts. And if we just stick with where we are here, then we have to stick with the text. But Paul comes to this point.

I think what is good to realize is that Luke, as a commissioned historian, commissioned by God that has accomplished his purpose. He has set forth in his Gospel, the beginnings of the story of the Church through Christ. And he has taken that further then into the Book of Acts and shown the beginnings of the Church, the origins in Jerusalem, the Commission given by Christ to preach it to the ends of the age. The work that begins in Jerusalem spreads out from there to Samaria, ultimately down to Antioch, where Barnabas and Paul trained disciples and then are sent out and the gospel spreads out into the Greco-Roman world.

And all the episodes and all of the stories, Luke tells to accomplish his purpose, which is the furtherance of the gospel. It is a story that is bigger than Peter. It is bigger than Paul. It is bigger than Luke. It is the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. And when we stick to that, when we hold to that firm, there are treasures, deep treasures to be mined out of the whole story of Acts that, to be honest with you, we've only touched, barely scratched the surface in this class. For all the hours I've talked, for all the notes you've taken, we haven't even begun to explore the story of the book of Acts.

And this is about the 10th time I've gone through it with a class of students, hope to go through it a few more times before I take up the rocking chair or whatever happens. But I keep learning. And that's why this class is continuing to grow. It's why I travel to Turkey. And hopefully, God willing, other places in the coming years to just learn more and more, to try to share that with everybody. I would encourage you, as you have been touched by this story, to do your own examination, your own study as you go forward. Whether it's in Acts, the epistles, something from the Old Testament, whatever it might be.

But if it's Acts, if the stories of Paul and the New Testament setting have sparked an interest in you, then you've got a lifetime ahead of you to dig deeper. And I hope that you will. I frankly didn't have this class when I went to Ambassador College. And I had to kind of learn it myself through Bible studies and sermons through the years and primarily in the last 10 years having to learn it to teach to students. I wish I had learned it 40 years ago, 50 years ago, which is why it's such a pleasure to lead a few graduate students and other members here the last few days to Turkey to dig deeper into, not only Acts, but the book of Revelation on the Seven Churches tour.

I wish I started going to Turkey about 30 years ago, but I had kids to raise, and to send to college, and things like that, and just didn't happen. So, at any rate, we've come to the end of the Book of Acts. And I hope that you have learned what you have here, learned it well, well enough to at least pass the test next week that you're going to get. And I'll try to give you a little bit of a primer. If we can, maybe on Monday, we'll see how that works out. For those of you that have been watching online, I hope that it's been a profitable experience for you. Look forward to the next episodes or the next class that will be taped next year out of ABC, and look forward to any comments that might come in online. So, that's the book of Acts.